17 October 2014


The BBC has done a rather good job the last couple of years of telling us football supporters how badly we’re being ripped off. They're latest iteration basically tells us what we already know, that the cost of football increases ever more, despite the continued stagnation in most people's wages. Yet the latest set of figures has thrown up some interesting observations specifically about the Albion, and the costliness of going to Falmer. In this article, the BBC sport team tell us the ten things they have learnt from the exercise. In this TSLR article, we look at the five things we have.

Our cheapest season ticket is the third most expensive in the league

This is all about context. I’ve always thought that £465 to watch all 23 Albion home games (about £20.22 per match) is pretty cheap. But in the context of other Division 2 teams, it certainly now looks pricey. To think, only Norwich (£499.50) and Bournemouth (£480) are more expensive to go to. It is quite odd we’re so expensive compared to these two - Bournemouth are obviously hampered by a small ground (capacity of 12,000 apparently - a rather convenient round number, don’t you think?) and Norwich have recently been paying top flight prices (and top flight wages).

The BBC handily tell us: “The cheapest season ticket at Brighton and Hove Albion is 36% more than the average comparable cost for the Championship of £343.” So where would you pay just £343? Slap bang in the middle is Brentford (£343) though don’t expect this to be the case at their new ground. It could stay that cheap I suppose, as they need to compete with seemingly hundreds of other London clubs. Both Fulham and Charlton season tickets are significantly less. Personally, as a resident of London, and if football clubs could be chosen by cost alone, Charlton looks cracking value. Their season tickets - the cheapest in the second tier - are just £150. And they don’t think much of P****e.

Talking of the Selhurst scummers, yes they’re home ground is a health and safety nightmarish mess - and their cheapest match tickets are a whopping £30 - but they’re cheapest season ticket is just £420. Half of top flight clubs have cheaper tickets than Albion: Everton (£444); Swansea (£429); Sunderland (£400); Leicester (£365); West Bromwich Albion (£349); Stoke (£344); Aston Villa (£335); Burnley (£329) and Manchester City (£299) all join P****e as cheaper than Albion. The head honchos at Falmer can hide behind the usual arguments - these are clubs in less affluent areas (all of them) or these are clubs with huge grounds they can’t fill (Villa, Manchester City). The former argument works better with me, play-offs aside, it’s not like we’ve ever filled Falmer.

We are the most expensive in the league for ‘cheapest day out’

This isn’t the fault of Brighton being an expensive place to visit, this is all to do with Falmer being an expensive place to visit. The BBC states that for a ‘day out’ they have added together the price of a match-day ticket, pie, cup of tea and a programme. Albion are the most expensive for this of all 24 tier two sides, at £34.70. Sheffield Wednesday is the cheapest - basically half that, costing just £17.80. Factor in the fact that really a day out also includes plenty of Harveys and possibly a second pie offering from Piglet’s, then you are looking at nearer £50. Luckily we’ve got that season ticket to bring the match-day ticket price down by £4.78 a match. That’s at least another Harveys for the Saturday afternoon stomach collection.

Tea costs a hideous amount wherever you are

At Falmer you pay £2.10 for a cup of tea apparently. I’d never know because the only interaction I have with tea drinkers is the sneer I give them as they hold up the beer queue at half time (dedicated hot drink lanes please). The cheapest cup of tea in the league is at Brentford and that costs £1.50 FFSMurray. The rising price of tea has infuriated me outside of football in recent times - I paid an outrageous £1.20 for a hangover chasing caffeine boost this very morning. There should be some sort of law - I mean, it’s a tea bag, hot water and long life milk, how much can it be? At Southampton (the most expensive in the country) a tea costs £2.50. Four clubs in Division 4 share the distinction of having the cheapest tea in the league - Newport County, Portsmouth, Accrington Stanley and Stevenage charge £1. Or the price of a fanzine.

The cost of the Albion shirt is £2.21 more than the average cost of £42.79 in the Championship

Does £2.21 really matter? Probably not. Would £2.21 get you another pie? Or a Harveys? No, it’d get you a cup of tea. And 11 pence change!

Piglet’s Pantry pies are the most expensive in the division

And worth every penny.

The most worrying thing about this compilation of data from the BBC is that the clubs who aren’t charging the most get a jolly easy way of seeing what they can get away with. It’s almost free market research for them, and they’re all making enough money to carry that out for themselves. It’s hard to properly draw conclusions though as the BBC’s figures come from different parts of the country with different micro-economies and different circumstances. Yes, the Albion is more expensive than London clubs in our league, but Fulham, Charlton and Brentford have never been particularly popular clubs. Yes, we’re more expensive than some northern clubs in the top flight, but they don’t necessarily have a swanky new stadium or supporters who can afford any more. The real analysis is the value for money chart the BBC hasn’t compiled. It reads like this, if we’re winning, we’ll pay whatever they want!

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